Yoga is the practice of poses and stretches, or asanas, originating in India more than 5,000 years ago. Yoga strives to gently harmonize body, mind and spirit. Most, if not all, poses relieve symptoms of stress. This makes it an effective healing therapy for those suffering from acute or chronic injury. Specific asanas may help alleviate pain caused by rib subluxation where a rib is out of alignment. Regular moderate stretching can help ribs and surrounding muscles gently heal and strengthen.
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Injury to one or more ribs can involve the intercostal muscles in between each rib. With rib subluxation, intercostal muscles may be strained; abdomen, shoulder and back muscles that are attached to the ribs may be strained, too. Yoga and stretching is only beneficial for rib subluxation when the body is repaired enough to practice without further injury. In a yoga class, be sure to talk with the instructor regarding injuries and concerns. Let the instructor know that your physician has given you the OK to be participating in any kind of regular exercise program. Modify any pose or stretch that is painful.
Restorative yoga focuses on gentle, non-strenuous positions and stretches using props such as bolsters, blankets and blocks to support the body in a pose. With reinforcement during asanas, the body and mind can enter a state of deep relaxation by releasing tension. This allows body, mind and spirit to freely rest, heal and recharge. A typical session includes four to six floor poses with a final relaxation. Asanas are held from five to 20 minutes or longer. Anyone with rib subluxation can benefit from such restorative therapy.
Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana
Several abdomen, back and shoulder muscles are attached to one or more ribs. Cobra pose stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen while strengthening the spine. Such exercise can provide healing for rib subluxation and surrounding sore areas. Lie face down on the floor. Stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Place your elbows into your body. Press the tops of your feet and thighs firmly into the floor. While inhaling, straighten your arms to gently lift and stretch your chest off the floor. Place your shoulder blades against your back and gently push your side ribs forward. Lift through the top of your sternum without pushing your front ribs forward. Hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds while breathing easily before returning to the floor while exhaling.
Extended Puppy Pose -- Uttana Shishosana
The extended puppy pose in yoga stretches back and shoulder muscles attached to one or more ribs. These muscles can be sore due to rib subluxation. Begin on all fours. Slowly walk your hands out as you stretch your chest toward the floor, keeping your hips over your knees and your arms shoulder-width apart. While exhaling, press your hands down and stretch your arms while pulling your hips toward your heels. Be sure your elbows are not touching the ground. Place your forehead to the floor or blanket and relax your neck, feeling the stretch in your spine. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Exhale and walk your hands in, lifting to a kneeling position. This asana stretches the spine, shoulders and muscles connected to the ribs. It is beneficial in healing rib subluxation and surrounding muscle strain.